Kick-Off: 7:40 PM (Local) (7:40 PM AEDT)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Nathan COE (GK), 2. Jason GERIA, 4. Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (C), 7. Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Andrew NABBOUT, 18. Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 24. Scott GALLOWAY, 26. Jordan BROWN.
***one to be omitted***
Ins: 13. Andrew NABBOUT, 18. Dylan MURNANE, 26. Jordan BROWN (all promoted)
Outs: 14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (suspension – 1 match), 16. Rashid MAHAZI (hip – 1 week)
Unavailable: 5. Mark MILLIGAN (international duty) 15. Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (ankle – 1 week), 17. Matthieu DELPIERRE (foot – 3-4 weeks)
Perth Glory Squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jack CLISBY, 3. Brandon O’NEIL, 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA, 18. Jack DUNCAN (gk) 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c) 24. Matthew DAVIES
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (promoted), 24. Matthew DAVIES (promoted)
Unavailable: 7.Youssouf HERSI (Hamstring – indefinite), 17.Mitch NICHOLS (Hamstring – 6 weeks)
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh
Assistant Referee 2: Nathan MacDonald
Fourth Official: Patrick Chaplin
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), Live Coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio VIC, 936 ABC Hobart & Northern Tasmania 720 ABC Perth & ABC Local Radio WA, Grandstand Digital, Online / ABC Radio Mobile phone app . SEN Radio
Geelong couldn’t have hoped for a better taste of A-League action than this mouth-watering one-v-two clash at Simonds Stadium. They’ve previously squared off in the Westfield FFA Cup where Glory won, with Victory now determined to cut Glory’s lead at the top of the table. Perth, on the other hand, will want to make a statement against the team widely regarded as a fellow title favourite.
For Victory, Kevin Muscat’s side will have to make do without suspended attacker Fahid Ben Khalfallah. Skipper Mark Milligan also leaves a hole in midfield on Socceroo duty.
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Kevin Muscat’s side, though, will have to be wary of quick counter-attacking raids from Glory as they have pace down the flanks while Marinkovic’s distribution through the middle works perfectly for Andy Keogh to produce results up front. Indeed, the last time these sides played in the FFA Cup quarter-final, it was Keogh who delivered the goods, scoring a brace in what proved to be a 4-2 extra-time win.
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For ladder leaders Perth, this game starts what appears to be a season-defining sequence of matches where they face Victory twice – the second game is after the Asian Cup on Jan 25 – either side of an away clash to Adelaide United.
Lose those three matches and they’ll give up top spot on the table to Victory and that six-point buffer at the top they enjoyed at Christmas – one they worked so hard to get – will have been thrown away.
While Perth’s record has been good this season, there’s always been question marks over their place at the top as they haven’t played Victory.
Those questions will now be answered over the next three games. But if Perth can break even with Kevin Muscat’s side, they’ll still enjoy a handy buffer at the top leading into the season’s second half.
Victory then, will probably be the more desperate to earn the win, as they’ll want to eat into Glory’s current four-point lead at the top.
Key striker Berisha has also endured something of a lean spell by his standards, but he loves playing against the boys in purple.
Expect there to be some drama.